Slow Dance Experiments in Myllypuro


I am writing about my participation in an event organized by dancer-choreographer Pia Lindy called Slow Dance Experiments. The venue was Alakivenpuisto in Myllypuro, Helsinki, on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The time was chosen around the sunset-times. The weather was cloudy and windy. The temperature was two plus degrees. I went to the park to photograph the places afterwards. The pictures in this post are from two shooting trips, 20.11. at 1 pm and 4.12. at 3.30pm when there was little snow on the ground.

Pia works as a dance and community artist in Helsinki with three years' funding from the Finnish Arts Council. I know Pia about our joint art projects and it was fun to see for a long time. In addition to myself, there were four participants, one of whom I already knew. At first we warmed up. We shook, waved our hands, and made upper body rotations. Then we moved on to slow dancing. Pia instructed us to study slow movement within ourselves, while reminding us that movement also allows for fast movement. Got to take breaks as well. Got to take influences from others. There was one hour. Here are my notes on how I worked and what I thought, felt and experienced during the hour.

I start to move slowly in my place. Meanwhile, far away on the sports field, there is a group doing a common brisk warm-up together. In all my slowness, I occasionally pick up movement from the athletes for myself into my own movement. Fun and previously inexperienced. I feel that I am involved in their practice: at a distance and slowly, as if I were an alien, which monitors people, or a robot.

I make a new insight into my movement. I can rise up and at the same time let my upper body squeeze small instead of as if naturally opening up when rising up. Likewise, I can sink down and at the same time let my upper body open, instead of as if naturally closing as I sink. After a sinking down, I sink completely to the ground to crawl. The sand on the surface of the earth is rough and it hurts the knees. My knees look for the tufts of grass growing in the sand. It creates a strange and at the same time pleasant feeling and again before inexperienced movement. I'm like a giant at sea, stepping by knees from one island to another, as I travel on the pieces of grass.

Thoughts gallop and do not slow down at all, even if the movement is slow. In addition, the cold makes me move faster than I want. Still more, when I wake up to some movement insight, the amusement about it makes me forget the slow movement until I get myself back into the slow. Through my observation, I try to slow down my thinking, but the movement and thoughts are like in different registers.

The cold makes me walk low at this point. That, too, is a surprising bodily insight that just happens, without invention or decision. Low walking is heavy and requires a lot of muscle work on the hips and thighs. I feel like a troll. To my surprise, my body doesn't get very tired, and I stay warm. In the middle of my trolling, Pia announces that an hour will soon be passed and it's time to stop moving. I would have liked to have continued as a troll, but I slowly lift my body upright. At the same time, I am surprised by the beautiful view. During the hour it has become dim and the street lights have come on. The walkway at the edge of the park is illuminated not by yellow but by blue and green light.

I turn the other way, and I am surprised by another beautiful view. Light patterns are reflected in the mound of the park. In this magical atmosphere, we get together. I guess we'll talk for a moment, and I'll be prepared to share some of my experiences. Because of the cold, we will not be left to discuss. I have a need to write.

The event included several things that were important to me. These included gathering, body movement, deceleration, outdoor air, urban environment, and light. While drilling alone, it was good to get along with others and do something together. Working together does not always mean constant contact with others. In this case, each participant worked alone, simultaneously with the others. At the beginning and at the end we met each other. I wrote an article Always Reborn Temporary Community where I reflect on community and community art. I understand the community above all as the ability and opportunity of people to come together, over and over again. The article is included in a book on the ethics of community art, which is expected to be published in 2021.

The importance of urban environments as urban residences has begun to take shape in a whole new way. Now, with the pandemic at the latest, they have woken up to see their vital role as human supporters. Outdoors, people can realize themselves every way they want. People can meet each other while maintaining safety distances.

During the fall, it has been interesting to write a blog and at the same time explore what blogging could mean to me. I want to keep writing. I will be back in January, with a new theme.

Happy Finnish Independence Day and Christmas time!


On behalf of Pia, I would like to announce that she will also be holding Slow Dance Experiments in 2021. The dates can be found on Facebook:

Pia welcomes those interested in the event. Below is related information.

in Alakivenpuisto-park in Myllypuro

The events are free and open to all. In the beginning you can join a 15min warm up/tuning in session lead by choreographer Pia Lindy after which each person can dance / move slow or also fast ("in your own way of slow or fast") listening to the sounds of the surrounding environment or to the music from your own headphones as long as you like (max 60 min).